During debate over its passage, proponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as the ACA or Obamacare) promoted it as a law that would curb the rising costs of health care, cover uninsured Americans with minimal disruption to those already covered, and reduce the federal deficit.

At the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, we hypothesize that a fuller understanding of the economic implications of the law and its implementing regulations will likely lead to different conclusions regarding the fiscal and coverage effects of the law, and that improved understanding of the ACA’s effects will advance important adjustments in health care policy. Thus, we are researching the economic effects of the ACA, sharing that research with interested audiences, and suggesting practical, market-based alternatives to the ACA that ensure better health and are grounded in innovation and consumer choice.

Central to this effort is assessing the effects the law is having on entrepreneurship, employment, and health care costs; updating and refining understanding of the law’s fiscal effects; and examining alternative means of providing not just health care coverage but improved health to the American people. Other possible subjects of research include further analyses of the ACA’s effects on workforce participation, fiscally responsible alternatives to the ACA’s health insurance subsidies and Medicaid expansion matches, and the economic incentives inadvertently created by the ACA. This research will fill policymakers’ needs to understand the effects of the ACA in practice, the factors that lead to its creation, and what can be done to correct it.